A day of calamity, a day of infamy! Today a raiding party of Apaches attacked us in the late morning hours. They appeared out of the southeast, numbering twenty or twenty-five savages, their faces painted and feathered and their horses robed, frightful in appearance, with bows and arrows, and at least one carried a musket, acquired doubtless in some previous bloody event. Never had I seen the very image of a Satanic cult so entirely personified.
And yet at first we hoped their intentions might be peaceful, or at worst we might ward them off with one supply or another, spirits or salt beef or even one of our mules. They approached us from the eastern bank of the river, fording it with some delicacy and patience, arms upraised as if in peace.
At my order we did likewise with our arms, hoping our mimicking of their behavior would confirm our openness and candor. At the same time, each of our armed muleteers drew instinctively close to his weapons. There was never a chance to flee, not with these Apaches on horseback and we with our mules alone. All civilized men must rue the day the savages stole their first horse.
Their attack came immediately and without a warning as they emerged from the muddy bath of the river. No sooner had we stopped our progress and turned to them with goodwill and calculated hopes than they drew their assorted weapons and made their charge. Before we fired a shot, two of our own, Lucio and the most able Alberto, fell with mortal wounds from tomahawk or arrow.